Wanting to dig deeper into the cultural aspects of behaviour which leads to corporate scandals, Synthetron Germany organised an online ThinkTank in 2018 on the phenomena called “spiral of silence”.
Around 20 people working on strategy or HR in various global companies and organizations in Germany took part in a highly interactive 45 minutes online dialogue to exchange views on the “unwritten rules of silence” . The discussion was moderated around 11 questions. The energy was high with almost 200 comments generated during the session.
So what were the key learnings?
– The discussion turned out to be a plea for the courage to speak up – with Silence only approved in exceptional cases.
– There is however an important gap between “will” and “ability” – while 90% of respondents felt that openness and moral courage were needed, only 25% thought that their environment allowed them straight talk about everything – half of the participants did not think so!
What enables a culture in which one can talk about everything?
First a leadership that leads by example and does not block.
Then clear rules of the game that provide guidelines and also provide some safeguards – for instance in case of internal discrimination or personal threat/violence.
Last but not least an environment with a commitment of sharing instead of competing with each other.
Two main area of divergent opinions emerged from the session: whether or not to position oneself politically and whether or not to start struggling with the loudest extroverts (who might be the ones to set the agenda).
Join our upcoming global Thinktank to further explore the topic!
On April 3rd (5pm CET) we will organize a ThinkTank in English to gather global insights on how to encourage a culture where people feel free to speak up. Click on the button below to participate.
Interested to participate in other ThinkTanks? register here to receive invitation to future ThinkTank sessions.
Find out more about this ThinkTank in the attached report (in German)